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7th July, 20212 min read

What is amaurosis fugax?

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Dr Adiele Hoffman
Last reviewed: 08/07/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

What is amaurosis fugax?

Amaurosis fugax is a temporary loss of vision that can affect 1 or both eyes. It usually doesn’t last long – sometimes only seconds – and it’s also known as transient or temporary visual loss, and transient monocular visual loss.

Amaurosis fugax is most often caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that takes blood to your eye, but it can also be caused by other things, including a migraine, or a problem with your eye itself.

It can be a symptom of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA; mini stroke) – which is a warning sign of a stroke. So if you think you have amaurosis fugax, see a doctor as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of amaurosis fugax?

If you have amaurosis fugax, you’ll usually have vision problems in 1 eye, but it can sometimes affect both eyes at the same time. The visual changes you have may include mild blurring, fogginess or complete blackness – in all or just a part of your eye.

These symptoms usually last up to 15 minutes – it’s rare for them to last longer than an hour.

If your amaurosis fugax is caused by a TIA, you may also have other symptoms like:

  • problems speaking
  • drooping of 1 side of your face
  • arm or leg weakness on 1 side of your body

How is amaurosis fugax treated?

The treatment you’ll need will usually depend on the cause of your amaurosis fugax. If it’s a blockage in a blood vessel, you’ll have some tests to find out where the blockage is or where it came from. If there’s an underlying condition that’s caused it, you’ll need treatment for this.

Amaurosis fugax may include:

  • blood-thinning medication
  • a surgical procedure to remove the clot, called a carotid endarterectomy
  • medications to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol
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